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Pets passports

Pet passports are part of the European Union (EU) Regulation on the movement of pet animals. This passport has replaced the existing Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) 1 certificate and is accepted for entry to the UK from other member states and from other qualifying countries. It has also replaced the PETS 5 and other documents that had been required to enter EU countries. PETS certificates can however still be used to enter or re-enter the UK until their expiration date. Certain non-EU listed countries may also issue a passport. Pets travelling on Pet Passports must  be treated against ticks and tapeworms before entering the UK. The treatment will be recorded in the passport. For dogs and cats with PETS certificates, an official tick and tapeworm certificate from a vet in the country in which the pet is treated is required. This certificate will only be available in certain countries.  

Your questions answered

What regulations affect pet travel?

There is an EU Regulation that sets out the requirements for the movement of pet animals (dogs, cats and ferrets) travelling within the European Community, and into the Community from non-EU countries. It also refers to importation requirements applying to rodents, domestic rabbits, birds (except certain poultry), ornamental tropical fish, invertebrates (except bees and crustaceans), amphibians and reptiles. The Regulation can be downloaded from the European Union (EU) website - see http://europa.eu/travel/pets/index_en.htm.

What does the passport contain?

The Passport will contain your details (as the owner) and your pet's details, including its microchip number, rabies vaccination and blood test details. There are also sections to record the tick and tapeworm treatment required for entry to the UK. Only pets entering or re-entering the UK need to comply with all these requirements. If the animal is going to an EU country and not returning to the UK, all that will be required is that the microchip and vaccination details are recorded in the Passport. Currently to enter or re-enter the UK your pet must also have passed a blood test - however from 1 January 2012, the UK will bring its procedures into line with the European Union and a blood test will no longer will be required (http://www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/pets/travel/pets/).

The Passport does not have a section for a "valid from" date to be recorded - the date from which the Passport can be used to enter or re-enter the UK is calculated as being 6 calendar months from the date of the blood sample, which gave a satisfactory blood test result (this is the date shown in the first paragraph of section V of the Passport).

How do I get a passport?

Passports may only be issued by specially qualified vets (LVIs) - so if there is no-one at your local practice who can sign the passport they should provide you with the details of a local LVI. If you are exchanging your PETS certificate for a Pet Passport, you must take your pet's vaccination record and the date it was microchipped to the vet. Your vet may already have these details, but it is better to take them along.

You must continue to have your pet vaccinated against rabies on time.

Which countries qualify?

Dogs, cats and ferrets will be able to enter the UK from qualifying countries provided they meet the relevant requirements. For a list of qualifying countries, visit: http://www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/pets/travel/pets/countries/.

There will still be free movement within the British Isles, including between the UK and the Republic of Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. However, owners with PETS documents are advised to take these with them when travelling with their animal.

EU and non-EU listed countries

If you travel with your dog or cat from the UK to another EU country, it can enter that country using a valid PETS certificate. Your pet will be able to return to the UK using its PETS certificate.

If your pet is resident in an EU country other than the UK, or a non-EU listed country, and has a PETS certificate issued before 1 October 2004 you will be able to use the certificate to enter the UK until its 'valid until' date.

Animals entering the UK with a PETS certificate must also be accompanied by an official tick and tapeworm treatment certificate. You are advised to check in advance that a vet will be able to issue this.

Can rabbits and rodents travel abroad?

When imported into the UK from another EU country or from Andorra, Croatia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland or the Vatican, there will be no rabies requirements. 

When imported into the UK from any other country, animals must be licensed into quarantine for 6 months as at present. The EU may revise this requirement at a later date.

For more information, visit: http://www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/pets/travel/pets/other-animals/

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